HomePoliticsGeorgia is urging the group to sanction prosecutors as Fani Willis is...

Georgia is urging the group to sanction prosecutors as Fani Willis is removed from Trump case

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia commission with powers to discipline and fire prosecutors only needs governors. Brian Kempapproval before it can begin operations, potentially disrupting the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office Fani Willis‘persecution of former president Donald Trump.

The state House voted 97-73 on Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 332, sending it to Kemp. The Republican governor has said he will sign the measure.

Although Kemp signed legislation last year creating the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, it failed to take off after the Supreme Court declined in November to approve rules governing his conduct. The judges said they had “serious doubts” about their ability to regulate prosecutors’ duties outside the practice of law. Tuesday’s measure removes the requirement for Supreme Court approval.

“Once this bill is passed, this committee can begin its real work of holding accountable the rogue prosecutors who abuse their office, sexually harass their employees and don’t show up for work,” said Rep. Joseph Gullett, a spokesman from the Commission. Dallas Republican, House members told Tuesday.

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The measure is likely to face new legal challenges. Four prosecutors dropped their previous lawsuit against the commission after the Supreme Court set it aside.

The law would require prosecutors and attorneys general, who prosecute lower-level cases in some provinces, to review each case individually, rather than refusing to prosecute certain types of violations. Opponents say this would mean prosecutors would not be able to use their discretion.

House Democratic Whip Sam Park of Lawrenceville blasted the measure as “a partisan effort to monitor and discipline prosecutors who make decisions that Republican politicians don’t like.”

“It will be used to undermine the ongoing criminal prosecution of twice-impeached President Donald Trump,” Park said.

Republicans deny that the measure directly targets Willis, citing instances of prosecutorial misconduct, including past occasions when Democrats supported the idea of ​​a prosecutorial oversight panel following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick.

“It shocks me that Democrats have twisted this issue to the point where the truth has been obscured here,” said House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, an Auburn Republican.

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Democrats’ opposition to the commission has hardened. They say Republicans are trying to override the will of Democratic voters and invite abuse by creating a commission without a body to review the rules.

“We are creating an oversight committee with no oversight,” said Rep. Stacey Evans, an Atlanta Democrat.

The bill is moving forward even as the Senate has created a special investigative committee that Republicans say will be used to investigate whether Willis used state money to benefit himself by hiring attorney Nathan Wade as a special prosecutor in the Trump case. That committee will hear Wednesday from Ashleigh Merchant, the attorney for co-defendant Michael Roman, who first raised questions about Wade.

Willis and Wade both testified at a hearing last month that they had had a romantic relationship, but they rejected the idea that Willis wrongly benefited from it, as lawyers for Trump and some of his co-defendants alleged. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has not yet decided whether Willis and Wade can proceed with the prosecution.

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Republican Chairman Jon Burns of Newington said Tuesday he believed the oversight committee was a better way to investigate allegations against Willis than the Senate special committee.

The Georgia law is one of many nationwide attempts by Republicans to exert control over prosecutors they don’t like. Republicans have taken action against progressive prosecutors after some filed fewer drug possession cases and sought shorter prison sentences, arguing Democrats are coddling criminals.

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